A Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes


Dear Fellow Reader,

To read a book entitled A Year of Saying Yes right now seems to be going against the tide. Everywhere I look, I see articles on how to say “no”. Apparently, people have a hard time saying “no” and because of this, their lives are overly full and they are stretched too far. Now, I have been accused of not knowing how to say “no” but I think age has cured part of that.

But then there is Ms Rhimes. She had gotten very good at saying “no”. So good that she really was not doing anything much except working and going home to her family where she would work some more. In case her  name sounds familiar, she is the force behind such TV shows as “Scandal”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”. These shows make up the ABC Thursday night lineup. As you may guess, she is a very busy woman with a lot of pressure.

The book is written in a casual style that is easy to read and I was pulled into her story right away. She talks about how by writing this book she feels that she is exposing herself to the world. To a certain extent that is right. Her apparent openness invites you in to find out what she said “yes” to and how it went.

She explains in the book that she is the youngest of six children but that none of her family sees her position as anything to get excited about. One Thanksgiving while watching her older sister make the family dinner she was talking about the things she had been invited to attend. (Trying in her little sister best to get some response to how cool she was) when her older sister muttered under her breath, “You never say “yes” to anything.” This caused Ms Rhimes to stop and take stock and see that her sister was indeed right. She decided that it was time to change that.

Her first invitation when she started her year was an invitation to speak at her alma mater’s graduation ceremony. (Dartmouth) She felt safe in accepting because it was six months away. But other challenges came on the heels of that and she had committed so she had to rise to the challenge.

I thought that her explanations of why she didn’t want to do things – like live TV were funny. As one introvert to another, I would also create horrible scenes of disaster in my mind if I were asked to speak in front of an audience or walk out as a guest on a live TV show. She showed her vulnerabilities in a humorous relatable way.

The year went beyond just saying “yes”. She also learned that saying “no” was also valuable and that there were some things that she needed to make an absolute commitment to do. She learned a great deal about herself and the people around her. She learned that by setting limits in her work life that the world would not collapse.
I found this book easy to read and I wanted to read it to see what would happen next.
If you are interested in finding out more about Ms Rhimes either before you read the book or after, she has a TED talk that you might enjoy. I have included it at the top of this page also.


My last post had a giveaway of the book “Getaway with God” by Letitia Suk. We splurged and had two winners! The winners of the autographed copy of the book were TLC Nielson and Susan Natchke Tichkowski. I hope they enjoy the book as much as I did. And if you have had a chance to read the book and can leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, that would be great.
Actually please always try to leave reviews for books you read. It helps others and the author.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Talking Books | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review and Giveaway!!!



There have been several people in my life that I think I have been very fortunate to meet and then call friend.

Letitia Suk is one of those people. Letitia was my neighbor for 31 years. During that time, we both had families and watched them grow up and out of the house. Letitia is quite different from me – she is the epitome of calm (at least it looks that way) while I might be a bit, well, you get the drift. She was very helpful in suggesting (subtly) when I might be viewing an issue from the wrong perspective.

I am so proud to say that my friend, Letitia Suk, has a new book out. Getaway with God, the Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat is a joy to read. It is meant for women of any age who may need some time to reflect on life and their relationship with God. Reading the book is like having a conversation with Letitia – warm and nurturing. The ideas in the book move along at a good pace.

The great thing about this book is that while Letitia does talk about using the retreat to get closer to God, the personal retreat is something that every woman can use whether for religious reasons or not. There are ideas for what you can do during your retreat and they can be adapted to your own needs. (Easily, Letitia might kill me for saying that you can leave God out of your retreat. And she would be right but the retreat could be used just to get away to regain perspective.)  Letitia started encouraging me several years ago to take a retreat for a day and use it as a planning day. I did not follow the idea about going to a retreat center but I did try to quarterly take a day in a different room in my house and use that as a planning/thinking day. I would encourage everyone to take up this practice. I would agree with Letitia that getting out of the house to do the planning day is a better idea than going to a different room in the house. One of the added bonuses of the book is that there is a section at the end of the book with several references for finding a retreat center. (I looked up where centers are close to my new home.)

The book has several different paths for you to take in planning a retreat. The retreat may be for a few hours, a day, or up to 5 days. Letitia also talks about keeping the Sabbath and ways to do that. It may be that if this is new to your that you would want to start slowly with a partial day retreat. Don’t worry, Letitia starts slowly with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed Getaway with God. I think that no matter what stage in life a woman finds herself, this book will be an inspiration.

And I have a giveaway! I have an autographed copy of Getaway with God that I will send out to one lucky person! All you need to do is comment on this post or on the Facebook post about this post or send me a tweet @carolearlycoone. I will pick one name at random. Good luck!

Thanks for reading!


Posted in Talking Books | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Thanks for the Suggestion



In one of my last posts,  I talked about the changes that my family and I had been going through. All good but there had been many changes in a short period. I also spoke about how hard it is to meet people when you don’t have kids to draw you to events. Fortunately, I was given the suggestion by a few people to join a local “newcomers club”.

I did it! I looked on line and found a local club and joined. This may not be the case everywhere but this club is very active and has many different activities that you can join. I have gone to several coffees and two book club meetings so far. It has been great. Everyone knows what it is like to be new and is very helpful. There are people who have been members for 15 years! The group obviously has been a great friendship builder for people. Interestingly, the group is not just for newcomers. They also welcome women who have retired and perhaps had not made local friendships while they were working.

One of the other changes - our new grandson. I am over the moon about him.

One of the other changes – our new grandson. I am over the moon about him.

I also have been going to the local library book club. I enjoy that book club. I think it is a hoot. Okay, the books have been good but the meetings are so entertaining because of the participants. The first month I attended, we had read The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. One of the themes of the book was about the main character not always going along with society’s norms. During this part of the discussion, one of the women (completely out of the blue) stated that Princess Diana was murdered by the British Government because they were not going to let her marry a man of the Muslim faith. Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I am sure I sat with my mouth open catching flies. Another part of the book was about slavery. During part of the discussion on that it was brought to light that one should never buy shrimp from Aldi. I guess it has something to do with slavery. (Please, you don’t have to write and tell me about this issue. I promise I would never buy shrimp from Aldi.)  Let’s just go with the discussions at the library book club are interesting and entertaining.

Also, I have read books for both book clubs that I might not have read and I will be telling you about them in upcoming weeks.

So things are going well in our “new life.”



We did recently take a vacation. If you have read this blog before, you may remember that I rank vacations by how many books I read. It is a good vacation – in nine days I read 6 books. A little slower than usual but I had two book club books to read and they were not my usual popcorn books. So I have plenty of books to tell you about in the next few weeks.



Thanks to those who suggested joining the local newcomers club. It was so helpful!




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Nostalgia Wins – Go Cubs Go



I must admit it. I am not a huge baseball fan. I think when you go to a game it is fun. But I don’t watch games on TV.

I lived most of my life in Chicagoland. As you may know, there are two professional baseball teams in Chicago. (Although sometimes it was hard to believe…) When I was growing up, my Dad was a White Sox fan. (Interestingly, when he grew older and had some dementia issues, he was suddenly a Cubs fan. No judgement, just the facts.) Then I married a White Sox fan. We even had what were called semi-season tickets for a few years with friends. The White Sox were doing well during that time and it was fun to go to the games.

I have been to Cubs games and they were fun too. Not because the Cubs usually won, it was more the atmosphere.

I am drawn into the World Series and I really want the Cubs to win. I think part of it is nostalgia. I remember Steve Goodman and his songs. I remember that he died too young and feel glad that his Mom can watch Cubs games now and hear his song. I love the stories of cutting school to go and sit in the bleachers and waiting for wins.

Part of going to see a Cubs game is taking the “L” to the game with thousands of new friends. (or they should be since they are physically so close.) It is great to see all the fans at the corner of Clark and Addison. They are happy and it is good.

I hope that all the old Cubs players are enjoying the winning season. I love seeing Ryne Sandberg at the games. I wish there was a whole section for former players where they all sat together – Mark Grace, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Glenn Beckert, Billy Wiliams, Randy Hundley and Keith Moreland. How great to see them all there?  Of course, some would be there in spirit only but give them a seat so that they are remembered.



There was an article in the Chicago Tribune  by John Kass  about a Father and Son and the World Series. The story was about Bobby Lannon and his son. Bobby is Robert now but when he was just Carole and Phil’s little brother at St. Pets he was Bobby. The story is about making memories that will last a lifetime and the shared love of a game.

So perhaps what I am feeling is a lot of nostalgia for the city and the fans. Whatever it is, I hope that they win. In a city that has a few issues, there is nothing like a winning sports team and especially a winning sports team that has as its informal motto “next year”.

I’m thrilled there is a game 7 but sorry that it is in Cleveland. For the Chicago fans, I wish that they could watch the manual scoreboard change to show the Cubs having the winning score. I wish everyone could see the “W” flying over Wrigley.

So, I will cross my fingers and check the score occasionally tonight. No, I won’t watch the game – I might be a jinx.

Go Cubs Go….

Posted in Miscellaneous Thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on Our Move

Dear Reader,

I know that there is usually a book review here but today there are some reflections on our recent move. I hope that you find them interesting/humorous/not boring…

In case somehow you missed it, my husband and I moved from Evanston, IL to Mequon, WI four months ago. We had lived in our house in Evanston for 31 years. Yes, that was 31 years.  I am not sure how that could have happened but somehow it did.

Reflection #1

You cannot clean out enough.

I thouMoving (1)ght that I had done a great job getting rid of stuff. We started at least a year before we moved. (I started cleaning out before I knew we were going to move.) Once we got past the “How do I get rid of that?” and the embarrassment of getting rid of things that had never been used, we did what I thought was a pretty good job. My husband estimates that we got rid of almost HALF the stuff we owned. That was a lot of stuff!

It was not enough. Due to timing issues, we had to store most of our possessions for a month. We were told that we stored 10,000 pounds of stuff.


Yep, 10,000 pounds.

My only suggestion to anyone about to move is to just get rid of everything and start over. Really, I am serious.  You will keep too much stuff.  Now I have to find out how to get rid of stuff in a new location.


Reflection #2

Don’t underestimate the love of local sports teams.

BrettFavreThis might not be as big an influence in other places but WOW we seem to have walked into it.

I don’t meet anyone that doesn’t utter the words “Bears or Packers?” Truly, it is the first thing my husband and I hear when someone finds out we are from the Chicago area. (Even the examiner at the DMV!)

I am sure that I probably didn’t even notice it the influence of the Bears in Chicago. The Bears were a big team in Chicago but there were other teams.  (Have you heard about a team called the Blackhawks?  Or those Cubs?  Or my poor White Sox?)

Here there is only one team. (Apparently the Brewers and the Bucks don’t count but I am not exactly sure why.) I think it might be a religion. The Packers are incredibly important.  Maybe is it that they actually win (in contrast to you know who) or that they provide social activities during the cold winter months.

When Brett Farve was inducted into the Hall of Fame a few weeks ago, the local news station had two reporters in Canton, OH for a week before the induction. And they both reported every night.  Brett Farve was a great football player. No doubt. But really, there was not that much to say about the activities in Canton, OH. It is a good thing he played so long so there were lots of old news clips.

Reflection #3

It is harder to meet people when you don’t have kids.

woman alone readingWe moved into our new house and two weeks later I went back to Evanston and had knee replacement surgery. I was not very mobile those first two weeks and then I was gone for three weeks for surgery and rehab. I am going to blame this for the fact that I have met exactly ONE neighbor so far.

The people I have met so far have been incredibly nice. I had rides to PT for the first six weeks. The drivers and the people at PT were so nice and friendly. There was always lots of conversations and laughter.

I guess I just have to work up the nerve to walk across the street and introduce myself. I have gotten my local library card and am hoping to go to some book clubs there. There is also a quilt store and I thought that once I get the sewing stuff set up I would take some classes. I need to take some action to meet people.

Reflection #4

It is good to shake up your world.


Yes, even though things are harder because I don’t know anyone or how to find places, I think it is good.  (GPS on my cell phone means more than ever before…) Change is hard and I whine about parts of it but overall, it is good to have to start over and have to find things out.  I look at things around here because it is all new.  We have to find new restaurants and shops because we no longer have old favorites. I miss the life we had but I look forward to finding out more about this area.

Now, if only someone would tell me who to call to fix/paint/repair stuff….

Thanks for reading!



Posted in Miscellaneous Thoughts | Tagged , | 5 Comments